Vaccination presents a difficult choice. On one hand it is aimed to prevent serious diseases whose mere names terrifiy us, like polio or tetanus; on the other hand we tend to instinctively reject the idea of injecting young babies with pathological material. In 1796 Jenner tried his vaccine against smallpox and in 1799 Hahnemann used homoeopathic Belladonna as a preventive for Scarlet fever. Conventional medicine followed efforts to prevent disease in a manner similar to that used by Edward Jenner. Due to lack of systematic studies, homoeoprophylaxis was never established as a scientific and effective method of disease prevention.
The adverse effects of injecting ‘live’ bacteria and viruses are evident, but due to the huge government support and lack of other alternatives, the experimental work on vaccination continued. Later vaccination attempts were with killed pathogens. Nowadays vaccines are ‘attenuated’ or consist only of ‘antigenic proteins’. But even then, adverse reactions to conventional vaccines are not rare and efficacy of many vaccines is still questioned.
The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), in Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality, reviewed by the Institute of Medicine Committee reported that more than 1,000 vaccines studies found convincing evidence of 14 health outcomes — including seizures, inflammation of the brain and fainting — that can be caused by certain vaccines. The Institute of Medicine admitted, “Vaccines are not free from side effects, or “adverse effects”. For the majority (135) of potential vaccine-related side effects reviewed, there was inadequate evidence to conclude whether or not vaccines caused the side effect.
In the last few decades, there has been a dramatic resurgence of homoeopathy around the world. This growth with increasing awareness about the bad effects of conventional vaccination has prompted many people to look for alternatives to conventional vaccination.
Burnett & his vaccinosis
Burnett was the first Homoeopath to forcefully warned against the dangers of vaccination. He believed that vaccination generated a state of disease, not that of the disease intended to be protected against, but rather a similar low chronic state of ill health; a contracted miasm.
He argued that vaccination, as practiced by Pasteur and Jenner using material doses will eventually end in disaster, because it is temporary protection. It does not individualize the dose to the strength of individual and it brings long term chronic consequences. Burnett warned against the reaction of individuals to particular vaccines on the basis of individual susceptibility back in 1884. In a recent report in August 2011 of IOM in review of adverse effects of vaccine, they clearly mention under the heading of susceptibility that ‘individuals with certain characteristics are more likely to suffer from certain adverse effects from particular immunizations’. Modern medicine is late to actually realize the importance of individual characteristics for evaluating the adverse events of vaccination.
Burnett also noted that vaccination actually increases the mortality rate, because in addition to the vaccinosis incurred, if a person also catches the disease prophylaxis was intended to prevent, he or she is more likely to die from the disease than if had just caught the disease without vaccination. Neil Z Miller and Gary S Goldmanin their research published in Human and experimental toxicology found thepositive correlation between the number of vaccine doses in the first year of life and increasing Infant mortality rates (IMRs) of a nation. The US childhood immunization schedule specifies 26 vaccine doses for infants aged less than 1 year—the most in the world—yet 33 nations have lower IMRs. The author concludes with a note ‘A closer inspection of correlations between vaccine doses, biochemical or synergistic toxicity, and IMRs, is essential’.
What Burnett said in the 18th century and what research reflects currently about adverse effects of vaccination is similar. We must think twice before denying facts in the present situation.
Concept of prevention of disease in Homoeopathy
Even before the field of bacteriology originated, Dr. Hahnemann advised immunization during pregnancy in footnote 164 for aphorism 284 of Organon of Medicine, 6th edition he directs to administer Sulphur during the first pregnancy, in order to protect the fetus from psora. He also mentions that such mothers give birth to children usually healthier and stronger.
The homoeopathic approach to epidemic diseases in general was first employed by Hahnemann in 1799, during an extensive scarlet fever epidemic in the province of Saxony. The principal remedy, which corresponded to the genus epidemicus (the main characteristics of the outbreak as a whole), was then given prophylactically to people exposed to the disease, and also to the patients in early stages of illness–before the critical point, when other remedies would sometimes be needed, was reached. The results were quite dramatic. Those so treated either did not get sick at all or suffered much milder illnesses, on the whole, than their compatriots who were not treated or who received the drugs and other heroic measures in standard practice at the time.
“What will cure a disease according to the law of similars will also prevent that same disease.”
Hahnemann mentioned in ‘on proposed remedy for Hydrophobia’ in his lesser writings, that ‘In like manner there cannot be any prophylactic of hydrophobia that does not prove itself to be at the same time a really efficacious remedy for the fully developed hydrophobia’.
Dr. Boenninghausen clearly wrote about preventive medicines in his lesser writings in a chapter on prevention of cholera, ‘Of course, these are and can be only such remedies as are able to cure the disease after it has broken out, which indeed is the first and most necessary requisite of all prophylactics, and without which they would not deserve the least confidence’.
Since the early years of development of Homoeopathy the concept of prevention of disease was clear in Hahnemann mind. Now we are using it with more confidence and we have evidence to prove it to the scientific world. Homoeopathic medicines can serve as the best preventives as well as curative for any epidemic disease.
Current literature on Homoeoprophylaxis
‘Prevention is better than cure’
Homoeopathy offers a unique perspective on the treatment and prevention of contagious diseases. Rather than aiming treatment at removal of the offending pathogen, homoeopathy focuses on treating the susceptibility of the individual. With reduction in susceptibility, disease naturally goes away. If an individual susceptibility is treated prior to exposure, the disease will have less impact. The best preventive treatment is constitutional treatment.
Kate Birch in her book on vaccine free prevention of infectious contagious diseases with homoeopathy mentions ‘Preventive remedies could be the nosode of that disease, the nosode of miasmatically related diseases or medicines prescribed on a constitutional basis. Administration of the nosode of particular diseases delivers an energetic form of the disease which is more effective in addressing the underlying susceptibility to the disease and effecting prevention without introducing actual harmful germs or incurring the negative side effects of vaccination. This power of the nosode is proved in a recent study conducted in Cuba for prevention of Leptospirosis using the strains of the causative bacteria as a Nosode for prevention.
Leptospirosis epidemic control
Cuba goes through a yearly cycle of a Leptospirosis epidemic, especially after the hurricanes flood the countryside and water pollution reaches its height. Many people are left homeless, flooded out and under the stress of a disaster situation.
A homeoprophylactic formulation was prepared from dilutions of four circulating strains of Leptospirosis. This formulation was administered orally to 2.3 million people at high risk for epidemic in a region affected by natural disaster. The data from surveillance were used to measure the impact of the intervention by comparing with historical trends and non-intervention regions. After the homeoprophylactic intervention, a significant decrease of the disease incidence was observed in the intervention region. No such modifications were observed in non-intervention regions.
An study was published in the international journal ‘Homeopathy’ (2010) which concluded that the homeoprophylactic approach was associated with a large reduction of disease incidence and control of the epidemic. The results suggest the use of HP as a feasible tool for epidemic control, further research is warranted.
Prevention of Japanese encephalitis with miasmatic prescription
A study was conducted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh from 1999 to 2004. This project was named B.C.T, as prophylactic drugs, Belladonna 200 on 1st ,2nd , and 3rd day one dose each, Calcarea carb 200 on 10th day and Tuberculinum 10M on 25thday were administered in phase manner to all children between the age of 0 -15 in the month of August every year for three consecutive years.
Symptoms similarity, complementary relationship, virulence and underlying miasm were taken into consideration for selection of medicines. After its commencement in 1999 the mortality and morbidity rates of J.E. fell drastically. 343 cases were reported in 2000 with 72 deaths; In 2001 only 30 cases with 4 deaths; in 2002 only 18 cases but no deaths; In 2003 and 2004 no cases were recorded.
In-Vitro study on prevention of JE with Belladonna
The in-vitro study was aimed at assessing the prophylactic action of Belladonna in Homoeopathic potencies on Chorioallantoic Membrane (CAM) of chick embryo infected with JE virus. A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Infectious Diseases by researchers of Kolkata’s School of Tropical Medicine and the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) showed that the homeopathic medicine Belladonna prevented infection in chick embryos infected with the Japanese Encephalitis virus. The study showed significant decrease in the viral load when treated with Belladonna in different potencies, in comparison to placebo.
In 1974, during an outbreak of Meningococcal disease in Brazil, 18,640 children were protected homeopathically against Meningococcal infection, and 6,340 were not. The following results were obtained:
18,640 protected homeopathically – 4 cases of Meningococcal infection.
6,340 not protected – 32 cases of Meningococcal infection.
Based on the infection (attack) rate in the unprotected group, 94 cases of infection would have been expected in the homeopathically protected group. Instead, there were only four cases of Meningococcal infection, showing that the homeopathic option was 95% effective against Meningococcal disease.
The results of the first study led to the Brazilian government funding a larger study in 1998. It was conducted by two Professors of Medicine from the University Foundation in Blumenau, Brazil, and a Blumenau specialist physician and Health City Secretary.
A total of 65,826 people between the ages of 0-20 were protected homeopathically against Meningococcal disease while 23,532 were not. Over a 12 month period, the following results were obtained:
65,826 protected homeopathically – 4 cases of Meningococcal infection.
23,532 not protected – 20 cases of Meningococcal infection.
Based on the infection (attack) rate in the unprotected group, 58 cases of infection would have been expected in the homeopathically protected group. Instead, there were only four cases of Meningococcal infection. Statistical analysis showed that homeopathic protection offered 95% protection in the first six months and 91% protection over the year against Meningococcal disease.
· Homoeoprophylaxis Research
In 1986, Australian homeopath Dr. Isaac Golden began a formal research study of homeopathic immunization. Over the course of 15 years, between 1988-2003, he gave homeopathic immunization against childhood diseases to 2342 children whose parents participated in his survey. He tabulated the survey responses, and found that the overall effectiveness of homeopathic immunization is 90.4%. Therefore, the effectiveness of homeopathic immunization is the same as, or in some cases even better than standard vaccinations. Unfortunately, neither homeopathic immunization nor standard vaccinations can offer 100% protection from a disease.
Between 2001-2004, Dr. Golden did a study of the relative safety of vaccination vs. homeopathic immunization. He surveyed parents of 781 children; some used vaccinations and some used homeopathic immunization. Dr. Golden found that children who received standard vaccination were 15 times more likely to get asthma, 7 times more likely to get eczema, and 2 times more likely to get allergies than those who used homeopathic immunization.
From the current literature it is evident that homoeoprophylaxis has the scientific data to progress in the future in the field of prevention of infectious diseases. Well designed rigorous clinical trials with good sample size exploring the efficacy of homoeopathic medicine in diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis is need by the profession. Presently conventional vaccination is dominant and mandatory by government policy for all the children. In this scenario Homoeopathy can serve people by assisting in neutralizing the bad effects of vaccination or vaccine injury. There are many drugs effective in vaccine injury.
Role of Homoeopathic Medicines in Vaccine injury
Homoeopathic medicines were prescribed to strengthen the constitution, to remove the miasmatic influences and to recover from the bad effects of vaccination. Selection of medicine will depend upon the reaction of the individual to vaccination, his state of immunity and the patient’s present state of health. The most commonly used medicine for bad effects of vaccination is Thuja, king of anti- sycotic remedies. It was used by Burnett for bad effects of vaccination (Smallpox) and he explored its effects in his book on vaccinosis through different case discussions. Now in practice we are using Thuja, Silicea, Antim tart etc. successfully for bad effects of vaccination.
Thuja is indicated in 22 rubrics in different chapters in the “after vaccination”rubric in ‘Complete repertory’. It is indicated for symptoms after vaccination likeanxiety; head pain; inflammation of eyes & conjunctiva; stomach pain; diarrhoea; asthma; emaciation of upper limb & paralysis of lower limb; suppuration of finger nails; felon paronyhia; swelling of shoulder & upper arm. In the Generalities chapter it is indicated for symptoms after smallpox vaccination; as prophylactic and in convulsion after vaccination. Because of this wide coverage of Thuja along with other remedies in our repertory, we have a powerful armamentarium in our hands to deal with vaccine injury.
Indicated in Scrofulous, rachitic children, with large head, open fontanelles and sutures, distended abdomen, slow in walking. For ill effects of vaccination. Symptoms of imperfect assimilation and consequent defective nutrition.
Indicated for bad effects of vaccination when Thuja fails and Silicea is not indicated. Great sleepiness or irresistible inclination to sleep with nearly all complaints. It has thickly coated tongue and desire for apples. The child clings to those around; wants to be carried and doesn’t want to be touched.
An effective protection against small-pox and ill effects of vaccination. Dry scaly itching; rhagades of hands and feet in cold weather and from washing.
Indicated in injuries from needles, pins, splinters, from rat- bite. Prevents lock-jaw. Injury to the parts rich in sentient nerves, which are very painful. Nervous depression following wounds or surgical operations; removes bad effects of shock, of fright, of mesmerism.
Indicated in diseases caused by a previous low state of the system. For dissecting wounds, insect stings, bad effects of vaccination. Malignant diphtheria or scaletina; edema or gangrene of fauces or tonsils.
Vaccination is always a controversial topic; we need to think in depth on the bad effects of conventional vaccination on the health of the child. Homoeopathy offers an option for disease prevention and cure. There is scientific evidence in favour of homoeopathy for prevention of diseases. Detailed research in homoeoprophylaxis will show the positive path for the future.
Neil Z Miller and Gary S Goldman. Infant mortality rates regressed against number of vaccine doses routinely given: Is there a biochemical or synergistic toxicity? Human and Experimental Toxicology, 30(9) 1420–1428.
Little Mountain Homeopathy, Vancouver, BC 604-677-7742 http://www.littlemountainhomeopathy.com
Kate Birch. Vaccine free prevention and treatment of Infectious Contagious Disease with Homeopathy, 2008, B.Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
Johann Loibner. Vaccination and Homoeopathy, 2008, http:// www.hpathy.com .
Bhaswati Bandyopadhyay, Satadal Das, Milan Sengupta et.al. Decreased intensity of Japanese encephalitis virus infection in chick Chorioallantoic membrane under influence of ultra diluted belladonna extract, American Journal of Infectious Diseases, April 2010.
J.C.Burnett. On Vaccinosis and its Cure by Thuja Occidentalis with remarks on Homoeoprophylaxis,Pratap medical Publishers, New Delhi.
Dr. Isaac Golden. Vaccination & Homoeoprophylaxis? A review of risk and Alternatives, 6th edition.
R.E.Dudgeon. The Lesser writing of Hahnemann, reprint edition 2002, B.Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
William Boericke. Pocket Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory, B.Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
H.C.Allen. Allen’s key Notes and characteristics, B.Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
Dr. Rupali Dixit Bhalerao M.D. (Hom) pediatrics, currently works as a Senior Research Fellow, at CCRH, New Delhi. Her articles and studies have been published in Homeopathy, Indian Journal of Research in Homoeopathy, International Journal of Bio-Research, Masod, Homoeopathy For All, The Homoeopathic Heritage, Vital Informer, National Journal of Homoeopathy, Homoeotimes and www.audesapere.in/ejournal . Dr. Bhalerao has been involved in numerous research projects and presented a co-authored paper on HIV at LIGA 2011.